Photo credit: Karla Alexander,

Transformational Leaders create breakthroughs with their organizations by thinking imaginatively about new opportunities for growth and success.

Where do you do your most creative thinking? When does your subconscious get a chance to throw ideas onto the table? What was the most inspired idea you’ve ever had? How did that idea develop?

My husband does his best thinking in the shower. My most creative ideas often appear on a long run. Others find their creativity unleashed in the car, at yoga, or even at 4:00 a.m., eyes wide open. Remember the commercials from many years ago with the key actor saying, “What If…” as he drove down a dusty highway, or yes, in the shower?

You’re actively engaged in running your business. You have back to back to back meetings and then go home to an equally busy family and social agenda. You’re exceptional at juggling all of the balls required for a successful operation. Your direct reports are highly motivated and do the same.

When does your innovative, strategic brain get a chance to breathe? Here are three approaches to create breakthrough results to carry your operation to new levels of success.

Schedule Time to Take a Breath

It sounds counterintuitive to schedule creative time, but with the operational demands of running a complex organization, that time almost always gets bumped from the calendar. While your team manages operations and executes the plan, take a step back and look at the big picture, the one that will get you to a new level of greatness. The investment of this time will be invaluable.

Acknowledge when you think most creatively and put the time on your calendar. Clear your mind. Take a walk, shut your office door, drive the long way to work, prioritize the run or the yoga class. Maybe you can even discover that the shower is your place too – I bet you take one every day!

Plan Creative Sessions with Your Team

Strategic thinking takes complex concepts and makes them simple. Gather your team for occasional meetings with no operational items on the agenda. Play on the “What If…” theme. What if constraints were removed, what then could be accomplished? How could opportunities be enhanced? What perceived weaknesses could be turned into opportunities?

Set some ground rules for this session. There are no bad ideas. This is not a competition. Follow every idea expressed with a minute for everyone to think about it and then three to five minutes of focused discussion BEFORE any other ideas are expressed. At the end of the meeting, the action item is to think about all of the ideas, with no action!

Challenge each person to find their own creative time to consider the ideas discussed and to come up with additional concepts. This will not only work on the original objective, but also shows your team that this is a valuable exercise to do with their own teams. Soon creative ideas will flow and a few will be game changers. Your entire organization will feel new energy and be focused on success.


Be engaged and engage everyone. Ask lots of questions — bold ones, curious ones, core ones. Ask them of your customers, competitors, stakeholders, and leaders at all employee levels. What does the administrative assistant tell people that his company does? What does the shipping clerk tell the FedEx driver about the company mission? What do your customers value in your products or services? Why do they choose you as a strategic partner? What about your Board? Why are they involved and what is their passion around your company? You will discover incredibly valuable insights from all of these sources.

Choose to focus on creative energy. Your business will show remarkable results as this becomes a widespread habit. You’ll all have fun and that energy will shine for everyone involved.

An Executive Leadership Coach is a powerful ally in creating new habits for your organization for remarkable breakthrough results. For more ideas contact BreakAway Leadership Coaching founder, Karyn Grant, at [email protected] or visit